What Delta 757-200 first class was like in 2014 (SAN-ATL-SAN)

What Delta 757-200 first class was like in 2014 (SAN-ATL-SAN)

Quick note: this is an old / archived review from 2014 showcasing what first class was like on the Delta 757-200 back then (SAN-ATL-SAN). Be sure to check out my latest Delta 757-200 first class review if you want to see what has changed since the time that I originally published this. 

What can I say about starting yet another trip on Delta Airlines out of San Diego? This trip to West Palm Beach (via Atlanta) is my third first class Delta trip this year, which is a lot considering that I don’t have any allegiance to them at all. Ever since they (and all the other airlines) completely devalued their frequent flyer programs, I’m not loyal to anyone anymore – I purchase my tickets based on convenience alone.

Normally we start our trips to Florida very early with a flight leaving SAN no later than 7:30am, but this time we chose an 11am departure due to the fact that we needed to board our cat and didn’t want to take her in the night before. She hates being away from home – and she’s usually really grumpy when we return, so the less time she has to think about how much she hates us the better! Lol…

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Tuesday December 23 2014
Aircraft: 757-200
Seat: 4A (First)

delta side profile illustration
Delta 757-200 N666DN side view illustration
our route via flightaware
Our route for today’s fight: POGGI3 IPL J18 GBN J50 SSO ELP J50 INK ACT SWB MEI WARRR1

We arrived at the airport at about 9:45, and strolled right up to the Sky Priority check in counters without any waiting. I think this is what I like about first class airline travel the most – it’s not the bigger seat, or the fancy(ish) meal…it’s the short (or non existent) lines that cuts so much of the stress.

We dropped our bags off and had our boarding passes in minutes, and from there it was off to yet another short line at the security checkpoint. As a matter of fact, this might have been the quickest I’ve ever went through security at SAN – I don’t have PreCheck, but they sent us through that line anyway and we were through in seconds. Nice!

departures level terminal 2 west san diego
Outside terminal 2 west at SAN
ticket counters at SAN
Delta Airlines check in counter
walking towards the security checkpoint
The entrance to the security checkpoint is to the left of the DL counters, beyond the stairs.
SAN terminal 2 west food court
We took a quick stroll through the food court to see if anything looked interesting…
approaching gate 48
…and from there we headed down to our departure gate (48)
gate 48
Waiting at gate 48

I can’t say that my first glimpse of our aircraft sitting at gate 48 left me feeling comfortable. Sure, it looked like a completely airworthy craft, but…that registration. N666DN. Yikes! I’m not superstitious or anything, but that one made me do a double-take.

But I quickly let it go, reasurring myself that this aircraft has been flying for 20 years (at least) without incident. As a matter of fact, a quick search on planespotters.net just now reveals that this aircraft first flew in 1991. So, it’s been 23 years to be exact! Anyway, on with the flight…

Delta 757-200 N666DN
Our aircraft (N666DN) being prepped at gate 48

There was a pretty thick crowd building at the gate door just before boarding was called, and (as usual), we had to fight our way through it when they announced boarding for first class. It was about this time that I was starting to wonder what first class configuration this particular 757 would have – there are many different seat types in the first class cabin on these Delta 757’s, so it’s always a guess as to what we’re going to get.

Boarding the Delta 757
A quick look at this 757 before passing through the boarding door

What we did get was what I call the “square” config. I call it this because of the squared-off arm rests and center console between the seats, but I’m sure there’s a proper name for it. I don’t particularly care what the proper name is (or how it ranks in terms of newness), but all I do know is that it’s my least favorite of them all. Oh well.

Delta airlines 757-200 first class seats
Seats 4A and 4B on this 757-200
Delta Airlines 757-200 first class seat arm rest
These sharp edges on the armrests is the reason why I call this the “square” config. Highly technical, I know…
delta airlines 757-200 first class seat pitch
Leg room is about as tight as it can get in first class
complimentary first class water bottles
Little bottles of complimentary water for each passenger in first class
first class boarding pass
My crumpled boarding pass for today’s flight

Push back was right on time, and since I was seated on the right side of the aircraft, I was able to get a nice view of the Delta A330 and United 747-400 charters that were in town for the college bowl games. Unfortunately, my iPhone did a lousy job of getting nice pics.

Pushing back from the gate
Pushing back from the gate
American Eagle ERJ at SAN
American Eagle ERJ waiting patiently for us to roll past
Delta Airlines A330 and United Airlines 747-400 at SAN
Sorry for the bad quality pic, but here’s a rare sight for San Diego: a Delta Airlines A330 and United Airlines 747-400 on the ground at the same time!

The departure off runway 27 was as good as it ever is in San Diego, and we were treated to some pretty nice views of the surrounding area as we turned east and headed for ATL.

runway 27 san diego
Looking straight down the barrel of runway 27
terminal 2 san diego
Nice overview of terminal 2 as we depart
turning east over the Pacific
Beautiful blue water of the Pacific Ocean as we turn east headed for Atlanta
san diego as viewed from the air
As you can see, it was a stunningly beautiful winter day here in San Diego
overflying san diego
One last look at San Diego as we fly east

As usual with Delta domestic first class service, hot towels were distributed before drink orders were taken. Snacks quickly followed, along with lunch orders.

first class drinks and snacks
Drinks and snacks preceded the lunch service

The lunch options on today’s flight consisted of a salmon salad or hamburger. Although the hamburger did sound tempting, I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal and opted for the salad instead. It was quite tasty, though I do admit that the hamburger actually looked better. Oh well – perhaps I’ll get my chance later in the week on our return trip?

Salmon salad lunch entree in first class
Salmon salad lunch entree

The remainder of the flight was completely uneventful, and as much as I tried to sleep, I just couldn’t. I also wasn’t willing to pay the exhorbantant rates for in-flight wifi, so time didn’t pass all that quickly. But I took some time to play with my GoPro camera for a bit – and the weather did get a bit interesting the closer we got to Atlanta, which made for some decent pics as well.

flying to Atlanta from San Diego
Somewhere between San Diego and Atlanta (that narrows it down quite a bit, eh?)
wide angle shot of the first class cabin
Delta Airlines 757-200 first class cabin
boeing 757 overhead panel
Overhead panel – nothing high tech here!
building cloud layer
The clouds began to build the closer we got to Atlanta
descending into the clouds
Moments before dropping into the clouds

It’s amazing how quickly it got dark once we descended below the thick cloud layer. It was so thick that I honestly don’t even know what runway we landed on – which is saying a lot considering how well I know ATL. It was foggy and dark, and we taxied around the airport for a good 15 minutes before I got my bearings and saw that we were approaching the T gates from the north.

I couldn’t see any terminal buildings during our taxi in, which was really spooky – it was like we landed on plant Mars or something. Did we come in on the north side and taxi around? Or perhaps the south side? I honestly have no idea!

just landed at ATL
Are you sure we landed at ATL? I couldn’t see a thing out there…

So that was that. A typically good Delta first class trans con experience. But I have to wonder…why doesn’t Delta put a true premium product on this route instead of watered-down domestic first class? With as much lift as they have out of San Diego, I can’t believe they aren’t tempted to try.

And now, here’s a full review of the segment back to San Diego:

I’m including this to show you an alternate version of the 757-200 first class seat that Delta was using. It’s different than the version you saw above.

Our layover at ATL was perfect – we had just enough time to take the plane train down to the new international terminal (F) for a quick and healthy lunch before heading back to concourse B to catch our connecting flight to San Diego. I hate scarfing down a meal under pressure, so it was nice to be able to sit and relax without stressing out about trying to catch a flight.

Atlanta, GA (ATL) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Saturday December 27 2014
Aircraft: 757-200
Seat: 5D (First)

Delta 757-200 N6706Q side profile
Delta 757-200 N6706Q side view illustration
route from ATL to SAN
Our route from ATL to SAN today: GEETK8 VUZ J14 LIT MLC BGD J8 FTI GUP J134 PKE LYNDI3

Our flight over to San Diego today was operated by a 757-200, which is actually kind of rare for me to choose. Delta has been flying at least one 767 a day to SAN for years now, and I’ve always gone out of my way to catch them. But not this time.

We needed to be back in San Diego in the early afternoon, and the only flight that would get us there at that time was DL1467 – operated by a 757-200, and not the 767-300 I would have preferred. Oh well. I don’t have a strong attachment to the larger airplane or anything, but it’s rare to fly domestic wide bodies these days – especially to San Diego! 

And besides – domestic first class on the Delta 767-300 is pretty darn nice.

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson airport B concourse
The bustling B concourse at ATL
Gate B22 ATL
Boarding at gate B22

Boarding was delayed a few minutes late due to late arrival of our aircraft, but the gate agents did a remarkable job of getting everyone onboard quickly and efficiently. And once again, I was curious to see what first class configuration this airplane would have. There are just so many variations of these Delta 757-200’s, no doubt a result of the merger with Northwest a few years back.

boarding the plane
Walking down the poster-covered jet bridge

Anyway, this aircraft featured what I call the “square” config (same as our SAN-ATL segment a few days prior), but with the addition of seat-back video screens featuring Delta Studio. I’m not much of an in-flight entertainment guy, but there is one feature of Delta Studio that I like: the flight information page, complete with the tail number of the aircraft. The #avgeek in me digs that like a ditch, but I imagine that kind of information is useless to 99.9% of the flying public. Still, I’m glad they include it!

delta airlines 757 first class
Delta 757-200 first class seats 5A and B
delta 757 first class seats
First class seats 5C and D on this Delta 757-200
center console
Center console between the seats with audio controls
In seat video screens
In seat video screens featuring Delta Studio entertainment
delta airlines first class boarding pass
My boarding pass. Even though it says seat 5C, I actually sat in 5D (the window).
loading up the 757
Moments before pushing back from gate B22

Despite the delayed boarding, we actually pushed back from the gate right on time. From there, it was a short taxi out to runway 8R with only two aircraft ahead of us. We were off in no time! It did feel weird leaving ATL for SAN so early in the day though. Normally when we return home from PBI (via ATL), we take that very late afternoon 767-300 flight which gets us into San Diego after dark. I was actually looking forward to arriving home with at least a few hours of daylight left.

taxiing out to the runway at ATL
There’s always lots to see around ATL!
ATL runway 8R
Looking straight down runway 8R
Delta Technical Operations Center (TOC)
Arial view of the Delta Technical Operations Center (TOC) as we depart 8R
rainbow and airplane shadow
The shadow of our 757 inside a rainbow!
moving map screen
It’s going to be a long flight…
Delta 757-200 first class cabin
Settling in before the service begins

Being that this was our 4th first class Delta flight in less than a week, we pretty much knew the drill. Hot towels, followed by drinks and snacks, and then the meal service. Very predictable, right down to the timing. If there is one thing that Delta has down pat, it’s the consistency of the domestic first class product. There were no surprises or issues here.

delta first class drink service
Drinks have been served, but I’m still waiting on my snack

For lunch today, I decided to go big and try that hamburger that looked so good on our SAN-ATL segment earlier in the week. I’m a pretty healthy eater, so it’s been a long time since I had a burger – and I figured that this was a special occasion, so what the heck, right?

delta first class hamburger
The Delta Airlines first class hamburger. Not bad!

My wife chose the other option, which was a pretty decent looking chicken salad.

delta first class chicken salad
This is the Chicken salad, which looked pretty good as well.

Both meals were served with a fruit and cheese plate on the side, which was pretty good. So – how was the burger? Surprisingly good! I’ve had worse burgers on the ground, so I was rather impressed considering that this was airplane food. Hamburger itch…scratched.

The only thing out of the ordinary worth mentioning about this meal service was that the flight attendants served from back to front. I haven’t seen that before on Delta flights, so I’m wondering if this was just the preference of the flight attendants? I’m not really sure.

I tried watching some TV after lunch, but there wasn’t anything in the Delta Studio collection that seemed interesting to me. There are a lot of options though – so it’s a pretty good in flight entertainment system overall. I prefer the moving map anyway, along with a good nap to pass the time.

Delta Studio home screen
Delta Studio home screen
Delta Studio video main menu
Delta Studio video main menu
delta studio flight information screen
I like the flight information screen the best though. It even includes the tail number of the aircraft!
cloudy skies from above
It was cloudy pretty much all the way across the country
flying high above the american southwest
But it started clearing up the farther we pushed west
48 minutes of flight time remaining
Getting closer. Only 48 minutes to go!

We made pretty good time heading west, and we ended up a bit ahead of schedule as we approached San Diego. The scenery is always amazing flying into SAN, and this time was no exception:

eastern San Diego county
Just about to enter eastern San Diego county
southern california mountains
This is winter in southern California. These mountains are usually brown any other time of year.
san diego mountains
Dodging the mountains as we line up for arrival into SAN
little Italy san diego
Scraping the rooftops of Little Italy

We hit runway 27 just a few minutes later, and there was another 747-400 charter (Atlas) sitting on the north side of the field that I tried to get a pic of. It was too bumpy though, and they all turned out blurry. Oh well. It was good to be home!

Pulling up to gate 50 at SAN
Pulling up to gate 50 at SAN. Home at last!

So that’s it for this one. Delta Airlines is consistent for sure, and we had no complaints about any portion of this trip to south Florida and back. Thanks for following along!

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